Women v. ISIS

Feminism in the Syrian desert, microbes everywhere, and one agony aunt

Berivan, PKK commander in Makhmour (Joey Lawrence)
Berivan, PKK commander in Makhmour (Joey Lawrence)


Meredith Tax explains how the Rojava Kurds—and their democratic, feminist, and environmentally conscious society—are fighting back against ISIS; Ed Yong takes us on a tour of the ecosystems lurking inside our bodies; and Amy Whitaker, alias “Agony Amy,” our resident agony aunt, gives advice about balancing a creative life.

Mentioned in this episode:

• View a slideshow of Joey Lawrence’s photographs from Rojava, and read an excerpt from A Road Unforeseen
• “The Revolution in Rojava”, Meredith Tax’s article in Dissent magazine that sparked the book
• Read an excerpt from Ed Yong’s new book I Contain Multitudes on our regular books feature, Shelf Life

Images from Rojava, captured by Joey Lawrence.

Tune in every two weeks to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

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Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at] theamericanscholar [dot] org.

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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